Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk/writer has some of the best insight I have ever received from any author... or at least the most since CS Lewis. I do not always agree with his opinions, but his words always provide some good healthy food for thought. I read this today and thought it was very interesting. It comes from his book "No Man is an Island."
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. The mind that responds to the intellectual and spiritual values that lie hidden in a poem, a painting, or a piece if music, discovers a spiritual vitality that lifts it above itself, takes it out of itself, and makes it present to itself on a level of being that it did not know it could ever achieve."
As a musician, this thought really helped me to understand what it is that attracts people to high forms of music. Music gets you outside of yourself. In a sense music puts you into a selfless state or maybe makes you less aware of your own consciousness and more aware of another's consciousness. To a being that is mostly selfish, selflessness is a refreshing phenomenon... The beauty of being taken outside of yourself, if even just for a moment creates feelings of the sublime. I haven't had time to really organize my thoughts on this subject but think its us worthy of discussing. Tell me what you think!